‘French’ typically translates to fancy and super-expensive, especially on the Strip. Thankfully, neither is the case at Mon Ami Gabi. This quaint yet gourmet establishment is the closest you’re going to get to the cafés that line the stone streets of Paris, reflecting the heart of traditional French cuisine with some of the most valuable real estate on Las Vegas Boulevard. Executive Chef Terry Lynch, trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and sister school Sabine de Mirbeck Ecole de Cuisine Francaise, in England, applies his more than 30 years in the restaurant industry to bring a truly authentic experience to every guest. Don’t be surprised to find a wait out the door during every meal, every day [make a reservation!], but understand that the restaurants’ pronounced popularity is backed up with stellar tastes and classic culture.
Mon Ami Gabi’s patio has become a Las Vegas’s icon, where walk-in guests claim it’s worth the 2-hour wait. Guests were hugging newlywed couples from over the low gateway that separates the restaurant from the always-packed street. You’re certainly not going to get a better place for people watching, and a front-center view of the Bellagio fountains adds a spectacular touch. The restaurant’s interior accurately represents a French café, the clicks and clangs of silverware forming a symphony with guests’ chatter and the bustle of [very] friendly servers.
The menu delivers a surprisingly simple yet exotic selection. This is not your place for a 16-course gastronomy tasting, nor the $500 price tag that comes with it. This is the casual French fare that so often goes overlooked in the cuisine, focusing on refined sauces and masterful preparation of basic ingredients to maximize natural flavors. Such thoughts are solidified with and chicken liver mousse pate, buttery in texture with a beautiful melding of salt and savor. Add in sea scallops gratinees, ratatouille and escargots de Bourgogne in a rich pesto-like sauce [if you can stomach the concept of eating snails, this is the place to check it off your bucket list].
Onion soup is a classic favorite, light and flavorful from a simple recipe. The filet mignon merlot is an absolute winner, delivering the tender cut with butter and red wine reduction for a taste that you’re not going to get at you’re typical steakhouse. Salmon with leek quinoa comes out tender as you’d ever hope for with rich qualities while the chicken grandmere builds on a very mild fried chicken with heavenly mashed potatoes, mushrooms and more bacon than you know what to do with.
Chocolate tart, crème brulee and rich white chocolate bread pudding are just a few of the place’s many fine desserts. Of course a creative cocktail program and the European wine selection will find a pairing for every course.
Mon Ami Gabi is open Sunday – Thursday: 7am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday: 7am to Midnight. Out-the-door price for shared appetizer, entrée, shared dessert and 1-2 drinks is ~$70/person. Reservations highly recommended. This review was comped. For more information call (702) 944-4224 or visit Mon Ami Gabi online.